The 7,000 pound bull wheel, previously used on the upper terminal of the Hood River Express lift, was hoisted into place last week in the Sahale building. This will be the first of many hoists in what will be the slope side Bullwheel Bar in Sahale. The bar will celebrate the chairlift, and those who build and maintain them. It will be decorated with chairlift imagery and literally built out of chairlift components. The bull wheel had to be replaced when a gearbox upgrade for the main drive required a different hub configuration. The bull wheel is what pulls the haul rope to which the chairs are attached, so it’s a critical component for uphill travel. And it will be on full display, hovering above the entrance to the Bullwheel Bar.
The bar will be lighted by a series of hanging sheaves converted into light fixtures. Sheaves are the pulley-like wheels that carry the haul rope over the towers. Several images will depict the history of chairlifts at Meadows, the technology and the awesome task of maintaining and deicing the lifts on Mt. Hood. The maritime climate presents a unique condition called rime ice, which can cake towers, rope, and terminals in several feet of ice. Meadows lift maintenance crews over time have pioneered and perfected the deicing process, which is required on the Cascade and Vista Express lifts several times a season.
We look forward to celebrating the opening of Sahale and the Bullwheel Bar this December